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‘Home direct’ scheme rolled out to tackle equine welfare crisis

An equine charity has taken a new approach to helping owners find suitable homes for their horses if they can no longer keep them.

Blue Cross has set up a “home direct” service, which avoids the need to use its busy centres.

Rehoming co-ordinator Emily Lambert said the charity hopes this will encourage people to approach them at an appropriate time.

“We would much rather people approach us whilst their horses are still healthy than risk them being passed form pillar to post and potentially ending up in a welfare-compromised situation and making more work for charities,” she said.

“The great thing about home direct is we are helping people as much as we are helping horses.”

The scheme was introduced in 2010 for small animals and has been hailed as a success by the charity.

A pilot trial for equines was launched in 2015 and has so far helped almost 100 horses find new homes. This has now been extended.

“We receive daily emails from owners who are unable to keep their horses any longer,” said Ms Lambert.

“The reason may be anything from the owners’ failing health to horses that cannot no longer be ridden.

“We also have frequent calls from owners looking for help and advice on their horses and sometimes just listening and talking gives people the peace of mind that they are making the right decision.”

The charity is hoping that rehoming horses directly will reduce stress for both horses and owners and will also free up valuable space at its centres for those in urgent need of expert care.

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Every horse is assessed thoroughly by a member of the Blue Cross horse team and then advertised on the charity’s website.

Once a potential new owner has been found, Blue Cross will arrange and oversee initial visits. If it’s a good match, the horse will then be rehomed. All home visits and checks are carried out as if the horse was living at one of its centres.

Blue Cross is also offering the service to other equine welfare charities that don’t specialise in rehoming.

Any horse can be considered for home direct provided they they pass a health check and are not on long-term medication.

Visit www.helpmyhorse@bluecross.org.uk for details.

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